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Lost and Found: Keep Tabs on Your Loved Ones

Group Safety Tips for Crowds 

Summer is upon us and it’s time to soak in the sun, see the sights and enjoy everything summer has to offer – like concerts, street fairs, festivals and more. However taking in the local culture can turn into a stressful time when corralling the family and traveling in a group. Whether it’s your two-year-old wandering off in a crowd, or your husband of 20 years, it’s important to have a plan in case you’re separated.

Organize Anything has put together six great tips to help you stay connected with your group as you enjoy summer activities.

1. Colour Coordinate. Taking the kids to the fair, or attending this summer’s “must-see” concert? Consider colour-coordinating your t-shirts, or dressing the little ones in bright colours so they’re easy to spot in a crowd. This tip is popular at large amusement parks like Disneyworld where you’ll often see whole families decked out in neon.

2. ICE it. Traveling with a group of friends to see a concert or enjoying a festival? Make sure everyone’s got everyone else’s cell phone numbers programmed into their phones. Label the numbers with “ICE” which stands for In Case of Emergencies.  Taking smaller children out to enjoy performance? Safety pin your cell phone number, home phone number and address to the inside of a pocket or coat so they have it case of emergencies. Remember at large events you can’t always hear the phone ringing vibrate may help.

3. Plan ahead. In the event you do get separated from your group, you should have a plan in place of where you’ll meet them. Before leaving the house or when you have arrived at the venue, decide on a spot where everyone will meet at the end of the day if you get separated. Everyone knowing the plan will save you headaches and heartaches later.

4. Talk it out. When travelling with small children, be sure to tell them early and often how important it is to stick together. Cover the ground rules before leaving the house in the morning and then review them on the ride there and before you get out of the car. Make a game out of remembering the information.

5. Get Technical. For grownups, there are apps for your smart phone that let you share your location via GPS with friends. Perfect for that crowded concert, group members can go for snacks and bathroom breaks without losing you in the crowd. For younger children you can purchase small GPS trackers that tie onto shoe laces or backpacks. At the press of a button the tracker will start to chirp, alerting parents to their child’s location.

6. Light it Up. Heading out to watch the fireworks? Go to the Dollar Store and grab coordinated glow sticks or funky flashing lights to pass out to the family. Turn them on when the sun goes down so you can track the members of your party.

Armed with this handy information, you and your family and friends are ready to hit the streets and the beach this summer worry free. A little planning for safety can ensure lots of fun at any gathering this summer.

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Top Five Investing Mistakes

  1. Putting all your money in one place.
    Don’t put all of your money in one type of investment. A mix helps even things out. If one loses, another may gain. Remember, some businesses have cycles. Some may do well in the summer, some in winter. Some will react to world events, some may not. If you spread them out, at least some of your investments will be doing well. If you put all your money in a single investment (no matter how promising it seems) and something happens to that investment, you could lose all your money.
  2. Investing in things you don’t understand.
    Remember ‘dot coms’? They were the hot thing to invest in for a while. But many had no customers or profits. A lot of people didn’t understand what they were getting into and lost money on them.
  3. Not setting clear goals.
    Are you saving for retirement? A house? A car? Will you need to use your money in five, ten or 25 years? You need to know these things before you invest.
  4. Taking chances you can’t live with.
    If you invest in something that makes you lose sleep at night from worry, you’ve chosen the wrong thing. Don’t choose something that you need to watch every day. Smart people pick investments that are good for the longer term. And if
    you’re going to take chances, make sure you only invest money you can afford to lose.
  5. Following hot tips or rumours.
    What looks like great information may just be noise. Make sure you know and trust the source. If you’re looking for advice,
    get it from an expert. That’s doing your homework.

Mudroom Madness

Is your mudroom, hallway, foyer or entry way making you mad?

Do you constantly trip over everything on the floor?

Is there no space to put anything?

Or has your clutter been like this so long that you just pass by and not really see what your guests see?

You may just spend minutes coming or going but this brief time can definitely set the tone for the start or end of your working day.

Nothing says welcome like entering into a space where you feel comfortable and can easily store your coat, shoes and outerwear items. Think about your home’s entry and incorporate these ideas to help keep it in top shape and keep you sane:

1. Give each family member a space: limit the amount each person can keep there (number of shoes, bags, etc.). Locker-like cubbies, milk crates or laundry baskets are great and can work well depending on the space. Allow only items that are used frequently and for that season in this area. Have adjustable shelves and hooks to grow with your child. Think about what is reachable for your child when deciding where to hang hooks and put baskets. Square cubbies are great for kids’ extra-curricular supplies and equipment; even shallow cubbies are helpful for stashing things away.

2. Have a place to sit to put on shoes. A bench with storage under the seat is a great multi-purpose item. A chest or toy box can make a great bench/storage option, too. Or tuck bins under a bench or chairs. This is a great place to keep sports equipment. Be diligent about keeping this seat clutter-free so you will always have a spot to quickly sit to lace up your shoes.

3.Provide enough hooks. Make sure that there is at least one hook per family member (an easy alternative to nagging kids to hang up coats). Strong hooks are also great to get book bags off the floor. Use big hooks for heavy coats and small ones for umbrellas and hats. Don’t forget the family dog! Have a hook for his leash. Hooks can also be placed on the back of doors. Hooks are a great way to tap into unused storage space- the walls and doors. Make sure the kids’ hooks are at their level and the adults can use the upper space.

4. Create a specific area for your pets. In one spot store leashes, waste bags, outside toys, treats, a cloth to wipe paws and winter paw protector or booties. Think about opting for bag holders that attach to the leash, collapsible water bowls and treat or ball bags that clip on your belt to save your pockets from an overflow of plastic bags and ‘cookie’ crumbs. Have reflective bands for you and your dog for nighttime outings—especially important in fall and winter as the days become shorter. You may also wish to consider a place to stash indoor toys on your way out.

5.Think up, way up. Build a custom cabinet up to the ceiling to maximize storage of out of season items higher up. If you are working with the closet you have, use labeled bins and boxes for seldom used or out of season items and store higher up. Consider adding an extra shelf above the existing ones. Could you double rod the closet – adults coats on the top – children’s below. If you do not have a front closet, you must be particularly selective about what you keep in your entrance. Think seasonal – what do I really need right now? Keep things for this time of year and store the rest elsewhere in your house.

6. Watch out for wet items. Allow each family member to have only one pair of shoes out at a time on a boot rack. Once a pair is dry it should be put away. Wet mittens and hats can be hung by clothes pins on a line that runs vertically or horizontally–thread line through pins’ spring, spacing them along the line, or use a pretty piece of 1 inch ribbon that they will easily clip to. Hang this mini clothesline close to a heat vent or heater. Again, once dry, these items should be stashed away.

7. Make a message centre. A bulletin board nearby, will help keep your family on schedule. Pin forms, invitations, practice schedules, and a calendar. This will help you remember to grab these items on the way out.

8. Check yourself out – add a mirror. Not only does it help make the space appear larger, it is convenient for you to give yourself a once-over before rushing out the door. It will help you catch turned up collars, food in teeth and hat-head. Get a mirror that has a small ledge for lipstick and a comb.

9. Give some careful thought to every item in the mudroom. Use waterproof paint and tile floors to deal with the moisture that will be coming in. Allow lots of natural light in and install ceiling light for nighttime entrances. If there is something there that doesn’t serve a purpose, remove it. Space is at a premium in the mudroom, so make sure you have a rationale for all your choices.

It may be a little space, but a little time and thought can rid you of the aggravation and madness of your mudroom.

Why Hire a Coach? Find Out What’s Holding You Back

It can be daunting deciding if you need to bring in professional help – whether you need a life coach, a business coach or just some friendly help to get through a rough patch.  Join us for a series of quick tips and advice from Colette on Why You Should Hire a Coach.

A great reason? Coaches can help you figure out what’s holding you back from success.

Why Hire a Coach? Asking the Right Questions

It can be daunting deciding if you need to bring in professional help – whether you need a life coach, a business coach or just some friendly help to get through a rough patch.  Join us for a series of quick tips and advice from Colette on Why You Should Hire a Coach.

A great reason to hire a coach? They ask all the right questions.

Seven Places to Tame Clutter At Home

7 #Clutter Problem Areas And How To Tame Them http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trulia/7-clutter-problem-areas-a_b_11408348.html?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004 via HuffPost Lifestyle

7 Things NOT To Do When Making a New Year’s Resolution

One in four people will not make it a week with their New Year’s resolution. Here are seven things not to do when creating a New Year’s resolution that will help you go the distance:

1. Don’t keep it to yourself. “I don’t want my friends to know I am trying to quit my bad habit.” Let others know! This gives you leverage and allows others to encourage you along your journey.

2. Don’t leave it in your head. “I don’t need to write it down, I know what I want to do.” Research has shown that those who write down their goals and track them have an increased chance of success.

3. Don’t be vague. “I’m going to lose weight”.  How much? At what rate? By when? Make your goals SMART- specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely and time bound.

4. Don’t be inflexible. “I’m not going to ever do that again” Not all goals happen with the flip of a switch. Sometimes you need to wean yourself off of a bad habit. Sometimes you will backslide or slip up. It’s part of life. Get used to it and get used to being more successful for the long haul by recognizing that people try and try again at their goals before they reach them. Some reports suggest an average of 14 times. Persistence not perfectionism pays.

5. Don’t be unrealistic or harsh. “I’m not going to eat any sweets.”  “I will exercise 2 hours everyday.” It is not always realistic to deny yourself. Life is meant to be celebrated. Think moderation and think about small incremental steps that will advance you toward your goal. It is better to be doing a smaller action for the long term than a larger goal that doesn’t have a chance of lasting a week.

6. Don’t take on too much at once. “I’m going to quit smoking, join a gym, meditate 10 minutes every day, lose 20 lbs, and spend more time with my kids.” This is just setting yourself up for disappointment. Focus on a couple of things and the activities that will take you towards your goals.

7. Don’t take the first step TODAY. “I’ll start next week…”  There always seems to be a better time than right now. You may think you need to wait until after a special date or occasion, or once the holidays are over or start on a Monday…the list goes on. The truth is now is always a good time. Start by visualizing where you want to be and eliminating negative self-talk that will keep you from reaching your goals.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

– Anonymous

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8 Gifts That Don’t Clutter:Consumable Gifts!

Tired of gifts being returned or unused? Do gift certificates seem too impersonal? Give these gifts that will be used almost immediately!
1. Homemade preserves: Jams, jellies, pickles and beets — just like Grandma usedcookie mix to make! Dig through family recipes, search online or go to the local market and pick up a few bottles of goodies. Place in a basket or cloth bag, and voila! The perfect present.
2. Wine: You can purchase wine at the liquor store or from a local winery — or make your own, if you are really ambitious. You can pick up nice wines for less than $20. They are perfect for office gift-exchanges where you never know who may be receiving. If you are looking for something more high-end, try a bottle of dessert wine or a nice Scotch.
3. Candles: You can buy from local craftspeople or try a candle-making kit. Make each candle one-of-a-kind, and attach a small card. In your own handwriting, describe how unique it is.
4. Meat and cheese: A cheese basket and a stick of cured salami makes not only a nice and tasty gift, but is good for someone who doesn’t have time for Christmas cooking.
5. Charitable donation: Give the gift of giving! This is a nice idea, particularly if the recipient has an attachment to a certain cause. Perhaps a relative supports the local children’s hockey team, or they volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club. A donation on their behalf to something they care about is sure to put a smile on their face.
6. Magazine subscription: This is a great idea for any age. Children love getting their own mail, and magazines encourage reading. It’s also a perfect gift for the avid fisherman or hunter.
7. Day/Night out: It could be something as simple as dinner and a movie. Or how about an afternoon of side-by-side massages, or getting creative at a paint-your-own-pottery place? Better yet, let them choose! The true gift here is the gift of time together, so this is a good gift for someone who you have been meaning to call or someone who hasn’t gotten enough of your attention lately.
8. Homemade nutz n’ boltz: — Make up a big batch of delicious homemade nutz n’ boltz, then divide into mason jars, decorated coffee tins or cellophane bags. Some cereal boxes actually include the recipe on the side, but here is one favourite just in case:

Nutz n’ Boltz

– 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
– 2 tablespoons garlic salt
– 1/4 – 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
– 4 cups Cheerios
– 4 cups Corn Chex
– 4 cups Rice Chex
– 4 cups Wheat Chex
– 2 cups cashew or mixed nuts
– 2 cups pretzels

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
1. Melt butter in large baking dish (12 x 17-inch or so) in oven.
2. Stir salt and sauce into melted butter.
3. Add cereals and nuts. Mix well.
4. Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
5. Put on absorbent paper to cool before storing in airtight container.
6. You may use any combination of the dry ingredients to your own liking; just keep the same ratio of dry ingredients to liquid.

Think outside the box for gift ideas that will create long lasting memories and appreciation from your friends and family. These non-clutter gift ideas are something that anyone can enjoy!

Quick Tips for a Holly, Jolly, Holiday

It’s the holiday season.  Time for buying gifts, throwing parties and decorating your home.  All that work can leave little time for enjoying what should be the most wonderful time of the year.  So here are some quick tips to help make your holiday season merry and bright.

Buying gifts
Make a list of all the people you plan to shop for with gift ideas that match their tastes.  Consider gift certificates, which are easy to wrap and create less clutter.  Be sure to set a gift budget for everyone on your list.  Check weekly flyers for sales to plan your trip to the mall.  The best times to shop are weekday mornings when there are fewer people shopping.  Some stores have personal shoppers who can assist you in finding the right gift.  And many stores have websites that allow you to save time by shopping from home online.  Finally, set yourself a deadline to complete your gift buying so you have more time to enjoy the
holiday season.

Throwing a party
Planning a successful holiday party is much like planning any party.  Start by selecting a date, preferably one
that doesn’t conflict with other holiday gatherings.  Once done, determine where you want to host your party – at home, the office or at a favourite spot – and make reservations if necessary.  Now you’re ready to draw up your guest list.  For a formal party,
prepare and mail out invitations.  For an informal gathering, email or phone invitations will do.  If you decide to hold your party at home, develop a festive menu to serve your guests.  If you choose a restaurant or club, ask them to suggest a menu based on
the number of guests invited and their tastes.  Some seasonal music and a few carefully chosen decorations, table settings and centrepieces will help create a festive atmosphere.

Decorating your home
Before you drag out boxes of lights and tinsel, visualize how you want your home to look and make a plan.  A good plan covers everything from your theme (such as ‘An Old-fashioned Christmas’) and colour scheme to the decorations you want to use and where you’ll place them.  Now you can pull out the décor you want to use.  Sift through it and donate or purge any outdated or unwanted items.  Be sure to test your decorations to make sure they work properly.  Replace all burnt-out bulbs and frayed cords.  If you need to buy new outdoor lights, consider strings with built-in timers.  They’ll save you time and energy costs.  Here’s another idea that will save you time: Make a party of it.  Invite family and friends to help you decorate, with the promise of eggnog and other holiday treats.  You could even purchase some craft supplies and have your friends over to create some memorable tree
decorations. (And a few holiday season memories!)

Next, tomorrow, later, now? When is the

Next, tomorrow, later, now? When is the best time to get started? http://ow.ly/i/mwgU6

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